Martin to start 1000th race from pole

Mark Martin will make his 1000th NASCAR career start on Saturday night and he will do so from pole position after emerging fastest in qualifying at Bristol

Martin to start 1000th race from pole

The 50-year-old claimed his fifth pole position of the season and the 46th of his career by setting a lap of 15.414 seconds at an average speed of 124.484 mph.

Despite running early in the session and the improving track conditions, his time stood until the final car completed a flying lap, securing the Hendrick driver one of the most important pole positions of the season.

"That was a pretty good lap," said Martin, who currently ranks in the 'bubble' in the points standing as the last inside the Chase zone.

"I just keep getting this great, special laps. The car was dead-sideways going into [turn] three. I've never been so scared in my whole life. I ran the second lap because I thought the first was junk."

"This performance will do [the Chase]. I don't know about the luck, you know. We've got the performance to do what we need to do."

Roush Fenway's Greg Biffle will start beside his former team-mate on the front row, matching his best qualifying effort of the year after running well during the two afternoon practice sessions.

"I just screwed up in [turns] one and two, I didn't get to the gas soon enough," said Biffle. "The car stuck, I just didn't have the guts to force the gas down. I did it down [turn three and four] but I didn't do it down here and lost [pole] by just an inch. I feel bad for the guys but it's a good starting spot for us."

Scott Speed was the fastest of the non-guaranteed drivers in third, beating fellow rookie Joey Logano who also enjoyed a good run, qualifying eighth.

Dave Blaney, who had been third provisionally, lost the spot to Speed in the closing stages of the session, but still had by far his best qualifying result of the season. Matt Kenseth made massive improvements from practice to round out the top-five.

Many of the drivers who are fighting their way in the Chase ranked among the top-fifteen, with Clint Bowyer taking sixth, Ryan Newman ninth, Juan Pablo Montoya eleventh and Michigan winner Brian Vickers in fourteenth ahead of Kyle Busch.

Reigning champion Jimmie Johnson was fastest in the final practice but failed to show the same speed in qualifying, ranking 21st in the end while points leader Tony Stewart was 30th.

Mike Skinner, Max Papis, Mike Wallace and Aric Almirola all failed to make the field.

Pos Driver Make Speed Time 1. Mark Martin Chevrolet 124.484 15.414 2. Greg Biffle Ford 124.307 15.436 + 0.022 3. Scott Speed Toyota 124.146 15.456 + 0.042 4. Dave Blaney Toyota 123.969 15.478 + 0.064 5. Matt Kenseth Ford 123.897 15.487 + 0.073 6. Clint Bowyer Chevrolet 123.890 15.488 + 0.074 7. Casey Mears Chevrolet 123.754 15.505 + 0.091 8. Joey Logano Toyota 123.706 15.511 + 0.097 9. Ryan Newman Chevrolet 123.642 15.519 + 0.105 10. Reed Sorenson Dodge 123.610 15.523 + 0.109 11. David Gilliland Chevrolet 123.586 15.526 + 0.112 12. Juan Montoya Chevrolet 123.586 15.526 + 0.112 13. Kurt Busch Dodge 123.538 15.532 + 0.118 14. Brian Vickers Toyota 123.451 15.543 + 0.129 15. Kyle Busch Toyota 123.435 15.545 + 0.131 16. Kevin Harvick Chevrolet 123.340 15.557 + 0.143 17. Jamie McMurray Ford 123.245 15.569 + 0.155 18. David Reutimann Toyota 123.126 15.584 + 0.170 19. AJ Allmendinger Dodge 123.103 15.587 + 0.173 20. Bobby Labonte Ford 123.047 15.594 + 0.180 21. Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet 122.984 15.602 + 0.188 22. Terry Labonte Toyota 122.842 15.620 + 0.206 23. David Ragan Ford 122.787 15.627 + 0.213 24. Martin Truex Jr Chevrolet 122.756 15.631 + 0.217 25. Marcos Ambrose Toyota 122.670 15.642 + 0.228 26. Scott Wimmer Chevrolet 122.646 15.645 + 0.231 27. Dale Earnhardt Jr Chevrolet 122.584 15.653 + 0.239 28. Regan Smith Chevrolet 122.576 15.654 + 0.240 29. Kasey Kahne Dodge 122.537 15.659 + 0.245 30. Tony Stewart Chevrolet 122.521 15.661 + 0.247 31. Robby Gordon Toyota 122.482 15.666 + 0.252 32. Carl Edwards Ford 122.419 15.674 + 0.260 33. Jeff Gordon Chevrolet 122.411 15.675 + 0.261 34. David Stremme Dodge 122.310 15.688 + 0.274 35. Tony Raines Dodge 122.217 15.700 + 0.286 36. Michael Waltrip Toyota 122.115 15.713 + 0.299 37. Jeff Burton Chevrolet 122.108 15.714 + 0.300 38. Sam Hornish Jr Dodge 122.053 15.721 + 0.307 39. Joe Nemechek Toyota 121.566 15.784 + 0.370 40. Paul Menard Ford 121.389 15.807 + 0.393 41. John Andretti Chevrolet 121.243 15.826 + 0.412 42. Denny Hamlin Toyota 120.626 15.907 + 0.493 43. Elliott Sadler Dodge 119.948 15.997 + 0.583 
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